A Hoary Redpoll is a fun bird to see while bird watching. Below are some tips to help you identify Hoary Redpolls. We have also put together a list of fun Hoary Redpoll t-shirts, Hoary Redpoll bird patches, birdhouses, bird feeders, binoculars, stickers, and other fun bird-watching items.
About Hoary Redpolls
They are close relatives of the common redpolls. They thrive in bleaker conditions compared to their relatives. Hoary Redpolls are rare outside the Arctic and favor the high Arctic Islands. Even though redpolls are known to invade areas south of the Arctic during winter, hoary Redpolls rarely migrate to these areas. Some of their distinctive features include:
Description and Identification
Hoary Redpolls are very small finches about 4.7 – 5.5 inches long. They have short, notched
tails and tiny, yellow bills that appear to be pushed in. Their fluffy plumes are pale whitish
and are streaked with gray and brown. All adults also have a small red patch on their
forecrown, with some individuals having a rosy tint in their rump and underparts, or face and
back. Adult females are usually less vividly white in contrast to the males, while the juveniles
tend to be browner with streaks.
Hoary Redpoll Color Pattern
Adult males are primarily buff-gray on their upper parts with a distinctive red crown patch. Their underparts are white with a pink-washed breast. They have dark wings with white bars and their legs and feet are black.
Hoary Redpoll Size
They are tiny finches with a small conical bill. They may be sparrow-sized or smaller.
The relative size of both sexes
- Length range: 4.7-5.5 in (12-14 cm)
- Weight: 0.4-0.7 oz (11-20 g)
- Wingspan range: 8.5-9.25 in (22-23 cm)
Hoary Redpoll Behavior
They forage on the ground or on tree branches where they catch insects on the wing. They store up food in pouches in their throats which enables them to feed aggressively and later digest the food slowly. They forage in flocks but during the nesting season, they forage individually or in very small flocks. Males do not defend their nest and prefer to nest in groups of few pairs.
Hoary Redpoll Food
Hoary Redpolls mainly feed on seeds, buds, and catkins of the plants found in the tundra.
These include trees, shrubs, weeds, and grasses; the common seeds they feed on are those
of birch, alder, willow, cottongrass, knotweed, pigweed, wood-rush, stink grass, and various
sedges. They also consume insects during the summer months in order to have sufficient
protein for breeding and to feed their young. They investigate their feeding grounds by
probing for insects with their beak as they forage. While they forage in flocks, they have
been observed to get aggressive with other birds while they forage. Insect prey includes
moths, butterflies, along with larval and adult flies.
Hoary Redpolls feed on small seeds of plants such as weeds, grasses, alder, and willow. In summer, they feed heavily on small insects and arthropods. In any given season it can readily devour sunflower seeds and Nyjer.
Hoary Redpoll Habitat
These birds can be found inhabiting tundra areas with shrubs or stunted trees scattered
across the area. They can be found in dry and wet regions alike, often selecting more barren
or high elevation habitats for nesting. Typically, they live in trees like willows, birches, and
alder sometimes along creeks or rivers. Following the breeding season, they gather in flocks
and search for food further north of their treelines. They can occasionally be spotted in rural
areas as they follow farmlands for food. While most populations migrate south during the
winter, many flocks remain near their breeding grounds and endure months of extremely low
temperatures, high winds, and darkness.
They breed ideally in low thickets of alder, willow, or riparian areas that are sheltered on the tundra. They winter in woodland edges, brushy fields, and open fields.
Range and Migration
Hoary Redpolls are species of the finch family that are found breeding along the tundra of
the Arctic Circle. These birds are known for inhabiting the harsh climates of the North and
surviving in regions beyond human inhabitation during the winters as well. They are short-
distant migrants, following a nomadic and irruptive pattern that largely depends on food
availability rather than the climatic conditions. Migration seasons usually take them south
towards Alaska, and northern and south-eastern Canada. Some populations around
Greenland and northern Canada do not migrate and are year-round residents of their
Hoary Redpoll Lifecycle
The females lay 4-5 eggs and incubate them for 9-14 days. During incubation, the male feeds the female and both parents feed the hatchlings. They leave the nest after 9-14 days.
Hoary Redpoll Nesting
Females select nesting sites and undertake the following construction. Sites are typically
selected in shrubs or stunted trees 2 – 3 feet above the ground, sometimes near water. They
also nest in rocky crevices, cavities in driftwood, or on the ground. Females first make a cup
of stems, down feathers, or twigs of willow, alder, and cottongrass. The interiors are then
stuffed with rootlets, fur, and feathers to thoroughly insulate the nest.
Bird Watching Academy & Camp Subscription Boxes
At Bird Watching Academy & Camp we help kids, youth, and adults get excited and involved in bird watching. We have several monthly subscription boxes that you can subscribe to. Our monthly subscription boxes help kids, youth, and adults learn about birds, bird watching, and bird conservation.
Bird Watching Binoculars for Identifying Hoary Redpolls
The most common types of bird-watching binoculars for viewing Hoary Redpolls are 8×21 binoculars and 10×42 binoculars. Bird Watching Academy & Camp sells really nice 8×21 binoculars and 10×42 binoculars. You can view and purchase them here.
Hoary Redpoll T-shirts
If you love the Hoary Redpoll you should purchase a Bird Watching Academy & Camp T-shirt. To help support bird conservation we donate 10 percent to bird conservation activities.
Hoary Redpoll Iron On Patches
Kids, Youth, and Adults love to collect our Bird Watching Academy & Camp iron-on patches. Our bird-watching patches help you keep track of the birds you have seen and identified. You can also display the patches on our Bird Watching Academy & Camp banners.
The Hoary Redpoll is a great iron-on patch to start your collection with. The patches are durable and can be sewn on or ironed on to just about anything.
Hoary Redpoll Stickers
Stickers are a great way for you to display your love for bird watching and the Hoary Redpoll. We sell a monthly subscription sticker pack. The sticker packs have 12 bird stickers. These sticker packs will help your kids learn new birds every month.
Bird Feeders for Hoary Redpolls
There are many types of bird feeders. Here are our favorite bird feeders for your backyard. We use all of these bird feeders currently. Kids will have a great time watching birds eat at these bird feeders. Using this collection of bird feeders will provide a wide variety and many types of birds.
Best Bird Houses for Hoary Redpolls
There are many types of birdhouses. Building a birdhouse is always fun but can be frustrating. These 4 birdhouses have become our favorites. Getting a birdhouse for kids to watch birds grow is always fun. We spent a little extra money on these birdhouses but they have been worth the higher price and look great.